25lb Little Giant followed me home.

slatercreek

Well-Known Member
Not sure if I should admit that I only paid 400 dollars for this. A few days ago a friend told me that the fire department in a neigboring town was going to auction of some donated items from an old blacksmith shop. He had contacted the person in charge and was informed that there was going to be a hammer included in the sale. They had no idea about it with the exception of the name of the manufacturer. I was very surprised to find very few people at the auction and only one other gentleman even remotely interested in it. The bidding didn't last long. It was the most expensive piece sold today and I was happy to pay it. Seems to be in outstanding condition. I will know more with a proper cleaning.
 

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EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
Darn the bad luck!! :) That's an awesome deal for that hammer!! That's what's known as an "old style" hammer (it doesn't have a sow block that holds the bottom die, and has the wrap around guide).

Give that old girl a little TLC, make any repairs needed (doesn't look like it will take much), and put here to work! Although it's been a number of years since I upgraded to an air hammer. I still have a soft spot in my heart for those hammers.
 

slatercreek

Well-Known Member
Gave this thing a thorough bath with the steamer today. Now I can see what I have. Fair amount on green paint under all that grease and grim. Everything seams pretty tight and nothing hinky looking. Pulled the three phase motor off and found an old motor in the back of the shop to serve as its replacement. See if I can get it running this evening. I still have a fifty pounder to go retrieve and give the same treatment. I'm pretty optimistic that by next winter I'll be able to put these to work.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
Just in case you're not familiar with Little Giant hammers.....if they are not dripping with oil/grease, then you need to lube them! :) Pretty much everything on Little Giant hammers are a "slip fit", and the "pivot" parts were all made of soft steel....the idea being for the pins to wear out rather then wrecking the major components. I made the mistake one time of using grade 5 bolts as toggle arm pins......wrecked the toggle arms and spent big bucks replacing them.
 

slatercreek

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the input Ed. I'm treating it like my antique harness stitchers. Oil them very generously. That's what I just did. Trust me it's dripping oil again.
 

slatercreek

Well-Known Member
Got the 50lb hammer home. Called Little Giant to get the age on it. 1946 model. Turns out I'm the second owner. Delivered new to the man whose shop I got it out of. An old blacksmith now deceased. It's new home is only seven miles from its original home. Pretty happy to gather up both machines so close to where I live.
 

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EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
Prior to going to the air hammer, I had both a 25 and a 50lb LG in the shop. Mine were just the opposite.... the 25lb was a "new" model, and the 50 was the "old" model (new has the dovetail guides and the removable sow block for the bottom die. The old style has no sow block, and has the wrap around guide) Comparing the two types, I personally like the "new" style far more then the "old" style. The "new" style has far better adjustability, and always held it's adjustment better/longer then the "old" style.

If you put them into use, some important things I can tell you are...... 1. KEEP THEM LUBED.... like I said previously, if the oil/grease isn't running off of them, then they need lubed. 2. Depending on how much you use them, they require frequent adjustment. When I was running them in my shop, there was an hour set aside each Monday morning to adjust the hammers. (it's just the nature of these machines, they were intentionally designed/built with "slop" in them) 3. Pay CLOSE attention if you ever have to replace parts, especially the pins/bolts....DO NOT just grab a pin/bolt from the hardware store. These are generally too hard and will wear into the major parts....the pins/bolts need to be "soft", so that pins/bolts will wear instead of the major components. One of the best things I did with the 25lb LG I had was to replace the babbit (it needed rebuilding when I got it), with bronze. I replaced both the main bearings, and the flywheel bearing with bronze. It took some work, as I had to keep "fitting" until I finally got about .040" of "slop"...what I didn't take into consideration at first was that the bronze bearings required room for oil/grease.....and until I got to .040" of "slop" in the bearing fit, the hammer was locked up when I turned it on. Once I got the bearing thing figured out, that little hammer ran like a singer sewing machine.

And finally, a safety note. Build some type of guard/shield that covers the main spring when the hammer is in use. The most frequent part that breaks on these hammers is the spring(s).....and without a guard, pieces of those springs become missiles. If/when a spring breaks, it's normally in three pieces, one shoots down to the left, the other shoots down the right, and a large shard shoots straight out... generally right inline with where you're head/face would be. Back when I first started Smithing, there was always someone getting injured from the spring breaking in a LG. You don't hear much about it today, simply because LG hammers are not as plentiful/in use as they used to be.
 

slatercreek

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the useful info Ed. I got the Fifty running today. Had it flinging grease/oil everywhere. Has the original motor as far as I could tell. Had to tear it down because it wouldn't run. Needs new brushes. I'm a rancher so improvising is what I do best. I super glued match sticks to the backs of the brushes so the springs could push on them, blew everything out with and air compressor, reassembled, and fired her up.
 
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